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Novel passive detection approach reveals low breeding season survival and apparent lactation cost in a critically endangered cave bat

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posted on 26.05.2022, 06:06 authored by Emmi van HartenEmmi van Harten, R Lawrence, LF Lumsden, T Reardon, TAA Prowse
Capture-mark-recapture/resight (CMR) methods are used for survival-rate studies, yet are often limited by small sample sizes. Advances in passive integrated transponder (PIT) technology have enabled passive detection or ‘resight’ of marked individuals using large antennas with greater read-ranges than previously possible. We used passively-detected resight data and CMR models to study survival rates of the southern bent-winged bat Miniopterus orianae bassanii, a critically endangered, cave-dwelling bat. Over three years, we used PIT-tagging to monitor 2966 individuals at the species’ largest breeding aggregation, using daily detection data (> 1.6 million detections) to estimate seasonal survival probabilities, structured by age, sex and reproductive status, and parameterise population projection matrices. This has hitherto been impossible using traditional CMR methods due to disturbance risk and low recapture rates. Bats exhibited lowest apparent seasonal survival over summer and autumn, particularly for reproductive females in summer (when lactating) and juveniles in autumn (after weaning), and high survival in winter. Lowest survival rates coincided with severe drought in summer–autumn 2016, suggesting that dry conditions affect population viability. Under all likely demographic assumptions, population projection matrices suggested the population is in deterministic decline, requiring urgent action to reduce extinction risk. Passively-collected resight data can now be used in combination with CMR models to provide extensive, robust information for targeted wildlife population management.

History

Publication Date

01/12/2022

Journal

Scientific Reports

Volume

12

Issue

1

Article Number

7390

Pagination

(p. 7390)

Publisher

Springer Nature

ISSN

2045-2322

Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.